“An extraordinary book that tells the real human story behind one of the biggest science adventures of our time, managing to translate the complex concepts of particle physics into a real page-turner.”
Royal Society Winton Book prize Shortlist 2011

This was my holiday page-turner: a clear and engrossing description of the physics of the Higgs boson (with surrounding weirdness), combined with a breathless account of the leap-frogging race for its discovery. New Scientist Books of the Year

Massive is packed with so much interesting information, it was necessary to provide more of a book report than a review. I simply couldn’t help myself. Go. Read. Enjoy. New York Journal of Books

"[A] rollercoaster of a tale. Sample keeps the physics accessible, but the real pleasure is in the personalities and drama he reveals behind the hunt for one of the most elusive objects in the universe." Publishers Weekly

"Since CERN has become the last word in geek-chic, every practising particle physicist has at some time been cornered by a friend or relative with a demand to "explain what is going on". Now, at last, there is a simple answer: buy them this book, and get a copy for yourself." Physics World. Full review

"When the Higgs boson is discovered, it will be front page news, and this is the book that sets the stage. Ian Sample mixes cutting-edge science with behind-the-scenes stories to paint a compelling picture of one of modern science's greatest quests." Sean M. Carroll, author, From Eternity to Here

"Suffused not just with human-interest vignettes but an instinctive sense that a historical approach is required to make sense of theories and experiments that, at first glance, seem to have nothing to do with what Wordsworth called the “still sad music of humanity."...
 [Sample] shows a keen eye for the personal equation, even while narrating large swatches of physics history... Sample’s exciting, easy-to-read narrative captures the collaboration, and competition, among the theorists and researchers who became involved in the search [for the Higgs particle] over the decades.” Wall Street Journal

"A compelling work of popular science, full of mind-boggling ideas and a real sense of the excitement of scientific discovery." PD Smith, The Guardian

"Lively popular account of late-20th century physics, physicists and their machines...Quality science journalism." Kirkus Reviews

"A great scientific adventure." Frank Close, author, Neutrino

"This is nerd-heaven. Finally, particle physics gets a proper page-turner. A smart, breathless race through Higgs, his tiny, tiny particle and the big, big search to find it." Dara O Briain, host, Mock the Week

"[Peter] Higgs himself has proved almost as elusive as his eponymous particle. Until now. Ian Sample...persevered long enough to secure an interview with him and the results are among the highlights of massive, a lively account of the genesis of both the Large Hadron Collider and its most famous particulate quarry...We are kept hooked by its fine reportage." Graham Farmelo, author, The Strangest Man, The Guardian. Full review

"Wondering what all the hype over the Higgs boson is about? Look no further." New Scientist. Full review

"A marvellous book and well worth reading by both researchers and the layman." CERN Courier. Full review

"Massive has achieved the journalistic equivalent of capturing the particle: The story pins down how a young Higgs, disenchanted with the use of atomic physics for weapons, came to propose a new type of particle that solved a snafu in a theory on symmetries. The theoretical seed Higgs planted, which five other physicists independently derived in 1964 but without as much credit, steadily began to bear fruit as it was invoked to complete physicists’ “standard model” of particles and forces." Science News

"An utterly human account of how the times leading up to the exposition of the Higgs field shaped the science of the day and continue to shape our current searches in modern physics...The way that the history was braided with physics and personal accounts makes Massive a really exceptional read....Massive is an immensely well written and well researched book that covers the concept of mass from antiquity to the second quantum field theory boom of the 1960s to the Large Hadron Collider today. The next time someone comes up to you and asks of the LHC, "But what is it really for?", you hand them this book." Sarah KavassalisThe Language of Bad Physics blog

"A great read, by far this year’s best popular book that could be recommended to lay people who want some idea of what’s going on in particle physics now and why it is exciting." Peter Woit, author, Not even Wrong. Full review

"A fascinating glimpse beneath the surface of our ordinary reality to a world where men and women spend their lives unravelling complexities in Nature that are inapparent to most of us, except when we stop to wonder, to ask that most basic of questions: where did all this stuff come from?" Stephen Curry, Reciprocal Space blog. Full Review



UK edition               US edition
Jan 2013               Jan 2013


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